I had a dream – I wanted to shoot naked caramels. And not just any caramels – no, I wanted to shoot my single most favorite caramels of all time. And that is saying A LOT.
Yesterday I had the good fortune of being invited to photograph the production process of one of my very favorite treats – Jonboy Caramels. If you haven’t tried them, I am sorry. I really am. But then again, if you have never had one, you probably don’t have the same issue that I do – the constant craving for more.
Jonboy Caramels are made locally here in Seattle by three very dedicated caramel creators – Jon, Jason, and Carson. These guys spend much of their time at chez caramel creating these delicious bite-sized pieces of bliss. Everything is done by hand, from the cooking to the cutting to the wrapping and the packaging. And let me tell you, this is no small task~
First the caramel is cooked, poured onto the trays, and allowed to set. It is then taken off of the trays in a large sheet. It really is pretty – honestly. Sometimes food makes me giddy. This caramel makes me giddy.
The caramel is then cut – first into strips~
Then into pieces~
Each caramel is then wrapped by hand and put into boxes.
My favorite place to buy Jonboy Caramels is our local farmer’s markets. They are also available at many of our local Whole Foods stores. For those of you not in the Seattle area, they are available online through their website.
Jon was kind enough to answer a few questions so that we could learn a little more about the story behind the caramels~
When did you realize that your destiny would be caramels?
~I don’t think of it as destiny, but I’m definitely enjoying the ride.
How did you get started?
~It got started during the christmas season of 2008 when, feeling poor and creative, I made caramels as gifts for friends and family.
What is your baking and cooking background?
~Baking, I unfortunately have no background. Cooking, well, that kind of started out of necessity when I was young and grew to be something I enjoyed after leaving home.
Did you grow up around it?
~Yes! My sisters are amazing cooks, and, now that I think about it, maybe I do have a baking background because I remember my Mom helping me bake mini-pies.
Is it a new-found talent?
~Making caramels? Yes!
How involved are you in the process of making the caramels?
~It depends. As you might imagine, Christmas and Thanksgiving are when we need all hands on deck and no one gets any sleep. During the rest of the year we’re lucky enough to have Carson’s help, but during apple season, I’m the only one making, dipping and wrapping our caramel apples.
How many people work at Jonboy?
~Three. My business partner Jason, myself and our über talented friend, Carson, who deftly juggles (and appreciates) the flexible schedule that “made to order” caramel and going back to school requires.
Which is your favorite flavor?
~If I HAD to pick a favorite, it would probably be the absithe with black salt.
How much weight have you gained since starting this venture?
Kidding! sort of…
Where would you like to see your business go?
~to the point where Jason and I don’t have to rely on our “day jobs” and can concentrate fully and completely on Jonboy Caramels.
Do you have a plan for growth for the future?
~Yes! Who doesn’t love to grow! But for us, the kicker is balancing a prudent and sustainable rate.
I know that your caramels are available locally right now, as well as online. I have a friend who flies in from Colorado and won’t leave the Seattle area without boxes of Jonboy caramels in her luggage. Would you like to sell around the country?
~Right now, to retain the freshness and quality that we’re obsessed with, it wouldn’t be prudent and sustainable. In the future, yes, we would love to, but for the moment we’ll leave that to ‘destiny.’
One of the things that I love about Jonboy is that they are a local company, operated by local artisans, creating delicious treats right here in our city. I am so drawn to supporting local artisans, farmers, and store owners. I really think it is important. Sometimes it is more expensive to buy local, rather than buying things made off-shore. I know that. But I also see the value in buying local as much as possible – it matters people. Truly. Knowing the people that are supplying the things we eat – the things we put into our bodies – it is valuable. I know we can’t always do it, but when we can, isn’t it worth it?
So, as many of you haven’t tried Jonboy, I am going to give away one delicious box of caramels to three different readers. Trust me – you WANT to win this one. You will most likely try the first, thinking you will share the rest, but after that first bite, you will most likely end up in your bathroom or closet, with the door locked, eating them in secret, so as to not have to share. No? Is that just me? Wow, this is embarrassing…
So, here is the deal.
1. Visit the Jonboy Caramel website
2. Look for their flavor options
3. Come back here and leave a comment with the flavor you would like to win
If you Twitter or Facebook this give-away, you will be entered twice!
I will draw the winners next Thursday~
Have a fabulous Sunday mes amies – and visit Jonboy at the Ballard or West Seattle Sunday Farmer’s markets!